Traditional Music Courses

UL Lafayette, Fall 2017

Ragin' Steppers (zydeco ensemble) at Blue Moon Saloon, December 2015

Don’t read music?  No problem! All of our hands-on courses are taught by ear. If you are not accustomed to learning by ear, prepare to add a new facet to your musicianship.

UL student?
Counting toward Music Minor: AMUS 115, MUS 327, 329, 331. Cajun & Creole Studies Minor: AMUS 160 (Sec 1 & 2), MUS 327, 329, 331,360. ARTS Gen Ed Requirement: MUS 360

Not currently a UL student?  
Visit http://universityconnection.louisiana.edu/ or contact University Connection, 337-482-6729 to learn how to enroll.

Cajun and Zydeco Music - MUS 360
Online, Mark DeWitt, Professor

Here is your chance to learn about the music that has made Lafayette and the rest of Acadiana world-famous, from old French ballads and Creole juré singing to the latest Cajun and zydeco crossover experiments. This course affords you the opportunity to read about and listen to lots of music: commercial and field recordings, as well as some live music.

Course content will include occasional synchronous sessions and video recordings of artists who have visited the course in the past. For the Fall 2017 semester, this course will be offered online only. A classroom version of the class will be offered in the spring.

Ethnomusicologist Mark F. DeWitt holds the Dr. Tommy Comeaux Endowed Chair in Traditional Music. He is author of the book, Cajun and Zydeco Dance Music in Northern California (2008) and a contributor to The Accordion in the Americas: Klezmer, Polka, Tango, Zydeco, and More! (2012)

Beginning Cajun Fiddle - MUS 327
Tues & Thurs, 11:00am – 12:15pm, Brazos Huval, Instructor

If you have never played the fiddle before but have an instrument and are ready to learn, you are ready for UL Lafayette’s Beginning Cajun Fiddle class. Instructor Brazos Huval is known as the bassist for Steve Riley and the Mamou Playboys, along with High Performance. Huval is also a master on the fiddle, which he plays with the Huval Family Band, and teaches children and adults in his private studio and with Louisiana Folk Roots.

Beginning Button Accordion - MUS 329
Mon & Wed, 2:30 – 3:45pm, Chad Huval, Instructor

If you have a button accordion in the key of C and are wondering what to do with it, you are ready for the Beginning Button Accordion class. Some loaner instruments are also available. Please contact Dr. Mark DeWitt, dewitt@louisiana.edu, for more information. Instructor Chad Huval teaches at the Brazos Huval School of Music, plays in the Huval Family Band, and is starting his own accordion-building business.

Cajun and Creole Vocals - MUS 331
Mon & Wed, 4:00 – 5:15pm, Megan Brown, Instructor

This course offers group instruction in how to sing traditional Cajun and Creole French songs, such as ballads, dance music, and other repertoire. You must be able to carry a tune; knowledge of French is helpful but not required. Megan Brown performs regularly with the band T Monde, was the CFMA’s 2013 female vocalist of the year, and graduated from UL Lafayette in 2011 with a degree in Francophone Studies.

Individual Instruction – AMUS 115
Prerequisite: group instruction class or by audition; $135 fee

Chad Huval, Cajun accordion instructor

Nathan Williams Jr, zydeco accordion instructor

Kevin Wimmer, fiddle and vocals instructor

Private lessons for full-time students who have already advanced through group instruction or on their own. Lesson fee applies for non-majors. 1 credit (½-hour lessons) or 2 credits (full hour).

Traditional Music Ensemble - AMUS 160

All sections of this class require an audition. Audions will be held during the first week of classes. If you sing or play a melody instrument, please have two contrasting songs to play, such as one fast and one slow. For accompanying instruments, the teacher will play a couple of songs and ask you to accompany him. Please also bring your course and work schedules so that we can schedule the rehearsal time. Sign up for a 10-minute audition time by phone (482-1020) or email (dewitt@louisiana.edu). All ensembles meet two hours a week for one credit unless otherwise notified. 

  

Cajun Music Ensemble - AMUS 160, Section 001

Time TBD, Kristi Guillory, Instructor

UL Lafayette students who play violin, accordion, or guitar: here is your chance to play Cajun French music for credit. Other instruments are welcome.

Instructor Kristi Guillory became a child prodigy of accordion in the early 1990s and has since earned her place among the modern masters. Kristi is obsessed with sad, pitiful Cajun songs, raunchy drinking ones and the fantastical lyrics of old Cajun a cappella ballads. A co-founder of the Grammy-nominated band Bonsoir Catin, she is a poet, a scholar, an emotional and passionate vocalist, and powerful accordion player.

Zydeco Music Ensemble - AMUS 160, Section 002

Tue 5:30-7:30, Nathan Williams Jr, Instructor

If you already play accordion, rubboard, electric guitar or bass, drums, or another instrument you’ve seen with a zydeco band, you are ready to try out for the Ragin’ Steppers, our zydeco band for credit.

Nathan Williams, Jr. has a degree in jazz performance from UL Lafayette and fronts Lil Nathan and the Zydeco Big Timers. They have released six CD’s and were nominated by “Offbeat Magazine” for best zydeco artist and album. He recently released a video of a performance at Festival International de Louisiane.


Bluegrass Music Ensemble - AMUS 160, Section 003

Wed 5-7pm, Len Springer, Instructor

UL Lafayette students who play violin, banjo, mandolin, upright bass, dobro or guitar: here is your chance to play bluegrass music for credit. Singers welcome.

Instructor Len Springer is the leader and fiddler for the Louisiana Purchase Bluegrass Band. Their most recent CD is Story to Tell. Len toured widely with several Nashville-based artists including Brenda Lee, Donna Fargo, Ronnie Reno and Ray Price. He also worked as a staff fiddler for Top Tracks demo studio in Nashville. He was the founder and director of the South Louisiana Bluegrass Association, Inc.

Blues Ensemble - AMUS 160, Section 004

Wed 6-8pm, Corey Ledet, Instructor

UL Lafayette students who play electric guitar, bass, drums, trumpet or saxophone, come and try out for our newest ensemble. Singers welcome.

Instructor Corey Ledet is a versatile musician who plays la-la, zydeco, and rhythm and blues. He and his band were nominated for a Grammy award in 2013. His latest CD is entitled Destiny. He has also performed with the group Soul Creole and was featured in the En Français: Cajun & Creole Rock and Roll project, performing “Hey Joe” (Jimi Hendrix), “Roadhouse Blues” (The Doors) and “Superstition” (Stevie Wonder).

We also offer a B.A. in Music with a Concentration in Traditional Music. If you are interested in becoming a traditional music major, contact Dr. Mark DeWitt, dewitt@louisiana.edu, www.tommycomeaux.com, 337-482-1020, or www.facebook.com/ComeauxTradMusic

The mission of the Dr. Tommy Comeaux Endowed Chair in Traditional Music is to stimulate interdisciplinary research on the foundations and diversity of traditional music worldwide and to advance the preservation, instruction, and performance of traditional music with an emphasis on traditions that have developed in Acadiana. 

For more information, please contact:

Mark DeWitt
337-482-1020
dewitt@louisiana.edu